Saturday, August 8, 2020

A Quiet Life series - contentment....

It's been a very long week here with a true mix of joy, family, laughter, migraine and exhaustion.
Our dear Cully May turned four on Tuesday and her level of excitement went into overdrive for days with barely a handful of hours sleep (for mummy and daddy as well) as her endorphins ran high until by Thursday night she fell into a proper sleep at last. Blossom, Ross and Rafaella (who shares a room with her big sister) were rather thankful for that.

In our home there was much to do, as is normally the flow of life here, but a crippling two-day migraine had me moving very slowly and doing things quietly and carefully. I am so thankful for all the meal prep I did last weekend because it made such a difference, for regardless of migraines or other maladies we still need to be nourished in order to maintain overall health and energy.

Having those slower days mid-week was also a blessing in disguise as it gifted me many hours to ponder God's Word and how I could apply it more to this life, hear His directions for change and growth, plan any course corrections which appear to be needed, and fill my heart with an increase of gratitude for all we have and all He has gifted us.

One word that resonated all week was CONTENTMENT so each day I'd consider my own understanding of contentment and in what ways I already experience it. I also turned things around to grasp what brings about discontent in my life and how to stem that tide - for I do not want anything that breeds discontent in my thoughts or manner or character, but yearn for a fully contented heart which is completely at peace with where I am, who I am, and what I have before me.

I found it easier to begin with what makes me content, especially during days of relative quietness and serenity (yes, even during a migraine).
Hanging up the washing; caring for the chickens; preparing meals; fresh sheets on the bed; the return of my husband from work at the end of the day; alone time pre-dawn to read my bible as much of the world around me sleeps; hours spent with Blossom and her girls; watering the vegetable garden just before the sun sets; swimming in the pool with long slow strokes and then floating under the blue sky and talking to God about my day (even in winter); preparing ingredients for next week's meals; packing my husband a healthy work lunch before making breakfast; picking fresh veggies for dinner; listening to the next chapter of an audio book as I wipe down benches and cupboards (currently Cranford); sweeping the tiled floors and shaking the little kitchen mat outside; resting for lunch and sipping a hot cup of tea in a real teacup; reorganising drawers and dusting shelves; tending the indoor plants; burning essential oils at the end of the day; old hymns playing in the background as I go about the other household many things bring me contentment, but what really stood out was how they were all based in our home.

When you know what brings contentment to your soul you have a perfectly wonderful opportunity to seek more of those experiences and rhythms - especially if your life seems to overwhelm with anxieties or confusion. Choosing to walk more in those contented areas and less in your areas of discontent there is opportunity for great change to occur in your everyday character, especially with regards to interaction with other people and how you respond to various challenges that crop up.

But just as I pondered the things which brought contentment to my life there was next a need to uncover the areas of discontent. Firstly, let me say that not all those areas can be removed, but some surely can, and for the others it's important to pray and ask God to bring clarity and direction for how to manage them in future. The balance I think we all need is to be more heavily leaning into the contented areas of life in order to manage the not-so-contented moments or commitments.

The sweet delights of what we enjoy can do much to alleviate some of the strain caused by less contented things. You know, when I was younger and Nana was serving one of her own childhood favourites for dinner and it was a meal I did not like (tripe poached in milk springs to mind, crumbed brains was another!)  I'd stoically eat it, my mind focused on what was coming next - dessert. And I loved every one of Nana's desserts. In fact I loved 90% of what Nana cooked and that's why I could 'cope' with the 10% that almost made me gag.

Life is a gentle balance of what we like and what we don't; what brings contentment and what doesn't; joys and heartaches; trials and triumphs; sickness and health; love and loss; dreads and desires...none of us are immune to this. There are good days and bad days, and we can either be swamped by a soul which is focused on our discontents or we can write a list of everything that adds life and nourishment and contentment to our souls and find ways to add more of those into our everyday life.

As a Christian I choose to lean on the Lord for direction, understanding and wisdom because left to my own devices there'd be far more time spent wallowing about what I don't have than pulling up my britches and expressing gratitude for what I DO have.

Now, I'm not telling you I've got this contentment thing all sorted out yet because I don't, but this past week with it's few days of 'migraine-enforced-quiet' brought to the surface an important understanding of what makes me tick. And the biggest surprise was that not once did 'stitching' come to mind when I was listing the things that caused my heart to whisper 'this is contentment'. And isn't that interesting?

So what about you?
Would you like to spend the next week pondering your own list of contentments and discontents? Just imagine, it may be a game changer for you.

Next week I have a new little Quiet Life project to share...just need to add a few touches, but it's rather sweet and quick to make too.

Bless you ever so much. Truly, this Jenny-girl appreciates you visiting, reading, chatting in response and generally being a part of my ramblings and ponderings...

To God be all the glory for anything good in my life for without Him I wonder just where I'd be...

PS: New patterns are now in my Etsy Shop over HERE


Beth said...

We were always glad when Nanna left out the kidney from her meat pudding when she new we were coming.
Contentment is tricky at the best of times, but even more challenging at the moment with being in lockdown.
Your garden is looking lovely. We are having fun spotting the Forget-Me-Not plants that have different coloured flowers on the same stem - blue with white or yellow centres, mauve flowers and even pink flowers.

Tania said...

This is a beautiful post Jenny. I loved reading every word of it.

Thank you for reminding me to be content with the simple joys in life. It is easy to become discontent in this world of ours.

I will think this over during the coming week and write a list. Thinking about it now, it makes perfect sense to give this serious consideration. Contentment leads to a peaceful happy life.

Wishing you a blessed Sunday,

Glimpses of My Heart said...

Contentment for me comes with a clean, organized and quiet house. I can not sit if there are dishes in the sink or laundry to be folded. It is with true contentment that I can sit at the end of the day when the house is cleaned and smelling good, the animals are fed and happy and everything is in order. My husband is not so neat and organized (and when he tries it just tends to get worse) so I “allow” his one corner in the library where his pockets seem to explode at the end of the day. After a week or so he takes care of everything, vacuums his spot and the process starts over. I clean around his area because I know frustration sets in for him if he can’t find what he’s looking for. It is one of our “compromises” after so many years of marriage and it works for us.
Thank you for sharing your heart. With all that’s going on in our world (and aren’t there always many things going on?) it is so nice to hear from someone so like-minded. “Chaste, discreet, keepers-at-home”. That’s what we are called to be even if the culture doesn’t agree. Knowing I am seeking the Lord and doing my best to follow His will is what brings true contentment.
Blessings dear Jenny!

JES said...

Thank you for another inspiring read ♥️

Allie said...

Contentment can be elusive at times! But no matter how my day goes, no matter how frustrated I am, no matter how many people seem determined to stress me out - God's word will bring me back. Spending time with my bible is the surest cure for discontent that I know!

Patti said...

I struggled with hominy during my growing up years! It is interesting that stitching didn't show up for you and I sincerely pray that you are guided to continue blogging, stitching and sharing your thoughts and prayers. But the things you did list...wonderful. Contentment and gratitude has been on my mind for a bit of time now and the lessons are steadily making its point. As always, thank you for a wonderful post.

Bobbie said...

I’m so enjoying these posts. Quietness is such a luxury which I am finding more time for. Like you, I’m finding the gentle rhythm of domestic pursuits centering to my soul. Maybe stitching is not so much your need as creating. I find that I’m not that creative on my own but enjoy stitching the creations of others like you. Your patterns have been a solace to me lately as health problems of friends and family have weighed on my mind. Stitching pillows for these lovely ladies has given me peace and when gifted to them gave them peace too. Thank you again!

Tammy said...

Contentment to me is being home in my house with no appointments to go to and no phones ringing off the hook just me my house, my cats and family. No guests to cook for . no interruptions..I love a slow quiet life and yearn for many more of those types of days. And a chance to escape to the sewing room which seems to be zero chance for likely is something I yearn for.

gracie said...

Happy Birthday Cully May. So sorry you had a migraine. I used to suffer them badly so I understand. Contentment....I will give this thought!

Jenny of Elefantz said...

I have no plans to stop blogging, designing or stitching...I enjoy writing and encouraging, and the sewing side of life is my work and income - not sure many people find 'contentment' in their paid employment as it's more of a responsibility. :-)

Karen said...

I have left a couple of jobs because it caused me so much stress. I would wake up the next morning not wanting to go to work.
Thankfully my husband and I started a small business from our home after he retired. I have been so relaxed and grateful.

FlourishingPalms said...

I'm so sorry you have been again laid low by a migraine. Being in that state must give so much frustration! But as you indicated, you'd planned ahead your meals, so you were free to move more slowly and gingerly, to manage through it. Love that picture of your ripening tomatoes! I admired an Iowa friend's picture of her tomatoes and she sent me a surprise box of green tomatoes! They're in a bag, ripening (I hope!), and the bacon is fried and in the fridge! I also like your laundry photo, and SO very much wish I had a clothesline again. That's one of the top five things I miss from our home in Iowa. Thank you for the reminders of what generates contentment. I will certainly focus more on those things.

Susan said...

Love your posts. Esp your Bible study! Blessings to you and your family!

Pink Rose said...

Hi Jenny i was sad to hear that you had another migraine,i hope you are feeling much better now. I always enjoy reading what your lovely family is up to and those grand daughters sure are a joy ,hope you have a wonderful week my friend,stay safe and take care xx

Susan said...

A wonderful lesson on contentment, and a good reminder to me. I have considered that I am content for many years, and I still am, but in the last few months with all that's going on in the US, some of the discontentment has tried to push that aside. It's caused sleep difficulties and I'm eating all wrong. In my life, though, stitching and quilting still help me keep my calm and balanced state, and I'm going to have to work toward more of that, and fewer of the other things. Thanks for the heads up with what's going on in my own head! I think I'm going to add some of Val Laird's husband's Bible study questions to my own scripture reading and study, too. More can't hurt, right?

Sherry said...

Thank you again for sharing your heart. I was blessed by your post and plan to spend a little time thinking and writing about contentment. That is the word I chose to focus on this year and things around me have been a bit distracting.

Miriam said...

Happy birthday to little Cully May. Thank you always for your thoughts after the reading of the Bible. I am happy about my simple life of mamma and housewife. I always headache I understand how you were the last days.
Miriam from Italy

Erica said...

Thank you Jenny, your words always inspire.